It’s 7 AM and the Cedar City UT Half Marathon just started. I’m running it for the third time. It starts at 8,200 feet elevation and goes 13.1 miles straight down a canyon road ending up at 6,000 feet in Cedar City. Wish me luck! (And I hope the altitude doesn’t kick my ass like it did at the similar Parowan UT Half Marathon last month!)
If you’re reading this, then we successfully made the drive from Las Vegas to Cedar bypassing the flood-destroyed areas on I-15…
Imagine 200 Occupy candidates running for Congress this year –- independent of the Democrats and Republicans.
Imagine if these candidates were not careerist politicians, but activists and ordinary people, running as accountable representatives of a real, fighting movement of the 99%.
Imagine homeowners who are facing foreclosure running against local sheriffs, and pledging to stop all evictions.
Imagine teachers fighting union-busting; debt-ridden students fighting for free education; low-wage workers fighting for a living wage; and environmentalists fighting big oil.
Imagine them all running with tens of thousands of Occupy activists backing them up: going door-to-door, rallying, protesting, and using these candidates to build the power of our grassroots mass movement.
Last year, the Occupy Wall Street movement showed that when the 99% speaks up, the seething anger of millions can transform into social power and change the whole political landscape.
But, this year, the 1% is making a comeback, using their domination of electoral politics. Had hundreds of independent working class candidates run, it would have been a different story.
And that’s why it’s absolutely crucial to support the few candidates who are running and challenging the two-party corporate duopoly this year.
I’m back into training for half marathons now. Active.com lists races across the country, allowing you to sign up on their site. But its interface is old, tired, and incapable of doing things that it needs to. By contrast, Bodybuilding.com, which sells supplements and focuses on training, provides a wealth of ways to connect, get information, and plan training. So does MaxMuscle.
Active.com doesn’t even allow you to save events. It says you can but the user forums have unanswered questions on this going back for months. So, not only can you not bookmark races that interest you, their support staff apparently can’t be bothered to answer the questions and the programmers can’t add what seems to be a simple enough feature. Also, if you pay $59.95 a year, you get added benefits, like discounts on races. But they don’t tell you in advance what the discount will be on a race. Instead it says you can save up to $10 per registration but doesn’t specify precisely how much. How lame is that? Its use of social media is minimal. You can start a blog and post updates, but that’s about it.
By contrast, Bodybuilding.com is filled with social media features. If you see a supplement you like, you can save it to your dashboard. The page for the supplement shows other members who are taking it and lists its overall rating from those who have reviewed it. For example, the Glycoject page, a pre workout supplement I’m using, has a wealth of information. There are forums for specific interests, like distance running, power lifting, and losing weight.
I bought the Glycoject on a recommendation at a local Max Muscle store. They are a highly knowledgeable and reliable source about supplements and training (Indeed, Bodybuilding.com gives Glycoject a 9.9 out of 10.) The Max Muscle website also uses social media to build community, with journals, events calendar, considerable use of Twitter, posting before and after photos, plus articles.
Active.com feels dead. It, like eBay, has an ancient interface and is mostly running on reputation (and maybe fumes.) Sooner or later, both will be replaced by sites that put the user first and create community, something Max Muscle and Bodybuilding.com are already doing well.
Like any sport, distance running is increasingly high tech. I recently went to a Roadrunner Sports store for new running shoes, used their sophisticated Shoe Dog technology, and got maybe the best running shoes for my feet ever.
I’ve been running for years and always got stability shoes, which are made for those who pronate (the foot lands pointing onward.) But Shoe Dog showed that I’m better with a neutral shoe. Here’s what happened.
First, you step on a soft rubber device that measures you feet looking up. As it turns out, I have a very high arch. Then you run on a treadmill and it photographs your feet as they land. I do pronate, but only on the right foot. My left foot lands straight. The shoe expert says I’d be better with a neutral shoe because the rigidity of a stability show isn’t needed. They then ask a number of questions about how much you run, the terrain you run on, etc. and the software lists several shoes that meet your specs.
They also, at an extra charge, fit you with custom orthotics molded to your feet. I ended up with a Nike shoe that feels slightly squishier than the stability shoes I’ve worn until now. Testing the shoes and orthotics out last night showed them to be the most comfortable ever and a slight twinge in my knee that had been there for two weeks disappeared.
I’ll be back in Utah on Aug. 4 to run the Parowan Yankee Meadow Half Marathon, which is 13.1 miles straight down a canyon road, dropping 2300 feet in altitude. It’s a calf-killer!